Stoke v Fulham: Contrasting sides tough to separate

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The Premier League doesn’t throw out many opportunities to draw Beauty and the Beast connotations, but when Dimitar Berbatov is sauntering around the Britannia with a snarling Stoke defence trying to give him a good hiding, you can’t help but draw similarities.

Much like in the tale as old as time, it will become clear that despite their contrasting exterior, the Potters and Fulham are not so different on the inside and will settle for a share of the spoils that can be backed at 23/10.

Stoke’s game, as uneasy on the eye as it is, revolves around rigid defending and clean sheets, while Fulham’s expansive style doesn’t half look pretty but opens up weaknesses at the back.

The hosts have struggled to turn draws into wins this season but have been as resolute as ever in their own third, with the point they earned at West Ham proving their seventh tie of the campaign to date.

Martin Jol’s Cottagers are proving a dab hand at picking up solitary points as well, especially on the road where they’ve notched three on the spin in games that have yielded a total of 16 goals.

For them to net two or three times here pays out handsomely at 2/1, while the 6/4 that says Stoke achieve the same feat is a shade on the short side, despite Fulham’s defensive susceptibility.

Brede Hangeland’s suspension is a big loss for the visitors as his physical presence and aerial prowess is exactly what’s required in the Cottagers’ quest to repel Stoke’s advances.

They haven’t kept a single clean sheet away from Craven Cottage this term which is great news for Tony Pulis’ men who have struggled for goals, only once scoring more than a single goal in their last six having failed to find the net in three of them.

The 10/3 that says the game will finish as a score draw is well worth a bet, while the 14/1 on offer for the teams to be level at 2-2 when the final whistle is blown offers good value too.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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